I watched the Kennedy Center Honors on Friday night, and as always, it was thrilling to see five wonderful artists paid tribute for their careers. This year the honorees were country singer Loretta Lynn, film director Mike Nichols, soul singer James Brown, violinist Itzhak Perlman, and actress/comedian Carol Burnett. A worthy bunch, every one. And as always, the show was a delight, although I wonder if it was taped on a night when President Bush was either incredibly tired or sick or something. He looked curiously unenthusiastic, barely even laughing when his own father, President Bush the Elder, cracked a joke at his expense during a speech for Loretta Lynn.
Last year I listed some folks I thought might deserve being future Kennedy Center Honorees, and I'll repeat that exercise now, since I have at least five more readers than I did last year. Feel free to comment, if either to lob tomatoes at my suggestions or, better, to offer suggestions of people I've forgotten.
:: Filmmakers (Directors, Producers, Screenwriters)
Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, George Lucas, Stanley Donen, Ron Howard, Lawrence Kasdan, William Goldman, David Mamet, Rob Reiner, Robert Zemeckis.
:: Actors and Actresses
Harrison Ford, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Tom Hanks, John Cleese, Robert Redford, Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Lily Tomlin
:: Music – Classical and Jazz
John Williams, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Daniel Barenboim, Philip Glass, John Corigliano, Anne Sophie-Mutter, Kathleen Battle, Yo Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea.
:: Popular Music
Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison. (As I noted last year, I'm not sure how "stodgy" the Kennedy Center would be toward musicians like Edward Van Halen.)
:: Television and Comedy
David Letterman, George Carlin (although, again subject to stodginess), Jerry Seinfeld, Ken Burns, Dick Clark, Stephen Bochco.
In putting forth these names, I mainly went by the body of work produced, although in some cases I am not at all sure that body of work exists as of now.
(EDIT: As noted, I simply reposted the above list from a similar post of a year ago, without noticing that last year's list included Itzhak Perlman who was honored this year. So I edited his name out. Oops.)